The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Ms X complains about the Care Provider’s decision to end a care agreement for her mother. We have discontinued our investigation to allow the Council to investigate the complaint.
- Ms X complains about the decision to end her mother’s (Mrs Y’s) package of care.
- The Council commissioned services from Respect Care Services (the Care Provider). Ms X complains that the Care Provider:
- gave one weeks’ notice to end the package of care. She believes this was in retaliation to a complaint made by the family;
- failed to discuss any concerns with the family before making its decision; and
- made false statements about the family and shared these with the Council as reasons for ending the package of care.
- Ms X says this caused distress and uncertainty for Mrs Y and her family.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about councils and certain other bodies. Where an individual, organisation or private company is providing services on behalf of a council, we can investigate complaints about the actions of these providers. (Local Government Act 1974, section 25(7), as amended)
- If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information and documentation provided by Ms X and the Council. I discussed the complaint with Ms X.
- I wrote to Ms X and the Council with a copy of my draft decision and invited their comments.
What I found
- Mrs Y is 92 years old. The Council arranged for the Care Provider to provide a package of care to support Mrs Y at home. This included two carers to support Mrs Y with her personal care every Monday morning. The Care Provider has provided this care for over six years.
- On 19 April 2020 Mrs Y’s son (Mr D) contacted the Care Provider’s out of hours service to ensure that two carers would be attending the next morning. Ms X explained this was because there had been three consecutive Mondays where only one carer had turned up. Mrs Y had not had a shower since 16 March 2020.
- However, only one carer arrived the next morning. Mr D contacted the Care Provider and registered a formal complaint. The Care Provider visited Mr D on the same day to discuss the complaint in more detail.
- On 21 April 2020 the Council contacted Mr D and said the Care Provider would be terminating Mrs Y’s care package in one week. The Care Provider said there had been a breakdown in the relationship with Mrs Y’s family.
- Ms X complained to the Care Provider about the short notice to end that package during COVID-19. She also asked the Care Provider to explain the reasons for its decision and basis for its statement that the family had been inconsiderate and rude to carers.
- The Care Provider responded to the complaint on 3 June 2020. Ms X remained unsatisfied and asked the Ombudsman to investigate her complaint.
- On 6 January 2021 the Council asked the Ombudsman for the opportunity to investigate the complaint with the Care Provider, to obtain a satisfactory resolution for Ms X and Mrs Y.
- Ms X has agreed to the Council’s proposals and therefore I do not intend to investigate Ms X’s complaint any further at this stage.
- We would expect the Council to discuss the complaint with Ms X and investigate and respond to the complaint within 20 working days of my final decision. If Ms X remains unsatisfied with the final response from the Council, she can resubmit her complaint to the Ombudsman.
- I have discontinued my investigation to allow the Council the opportunity to investigate the complaint.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman